Martha Jimbo, NPR, CEO discussed on The Indicator from Planet Money

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Support for NPR and the following message. Come from capital one where you can open a savings account in about five minutes and earn five times times the national average. This is banking reimagined. What's in your Wallet Capital One in a member. FDIC Martha Jimbo is the Economic Research Director. At the indeed hiring lab in a regular on the show one of our favorites and gender segregation in the workplace is a topic. She's been focused on for a while. Now people tend to avoid talking about it a little bit. I think like the fact that women are more likely to be in primary care. Teachers and men are more likely to be. CEO's IT can end up sounding like you're either blaming women or saying it doesn't matter like it's it's hard to talk about but Martha's says we should talk about it because occupational gender segregation Asian matters for everyone for women for men for families for the economy in a bunch of ways for example it explains a big part of the wealth gap that remains between men and women and the reason is that overall most jobs that pay the most are held by men which include jobs like being a doctor or a dentist or an engineer and most of the lower paying jobs jobs are held by women like childcare workers. Cashiers personal care. Aides in the breakdown is really stark. When you look at senior executives of big companies here's a really staggering statistic of the five hundred? CEO's of the companies that made up the fortune five hundred last year only twenty. Four were women. That's not very many. No I five percent not a lot. Are you GONNA do. Women earn about twenty percent less than men do throughout the economy. That's the gender wage gap gap now discrimination and other variables account for a lot of it but in a recent paper. Economists Francine Blau and Lawrence con estimated that roughly half of the gender wage gap is because men and women work in different industries and occupations. So one conclusion is that if the labor market were less segregated in other words if men and women held roughly the same share of jobs in every occupation then women would likely be paid closer to what men are paid overall. The wage gap would be smaller now. Of course one response to the fact that men and and women work in different jobs could just be that women are choosing different jobs than men are that they're just doing the work they want to do that. It's no big deal. It's just free choice. But Martha's the issue is way more complicated than that. She says we should also consider some of the reasons that women might choose to work certain jobs and not working other jobs if they don't have role models if if people assume that women can't do that kind of work if people who are already in that profession ten talk about women in a derogatory way that's going to cause hawes women to think maybe this occupation isn't for me and there is research showing that women who do go to work in male dominated occupations. Find it more pleasant in the working. Environment is more hostile to them in those male dominated fields and that of course can discourage women from trying for those higher paying jobs in the first place and more also so sites fascinating sociology paper about another barrier to women entering these higher paying jobs. Stereotypes there was a paper that came out recently. Showing knowing that when employers were reviewing resumes they preferred to call in high achieving men for interviews but only moderately achieving women and the researchers went. Wait why is this. And they followed up with the employers and the employer said We think that the moderately achieving women will be more sociable and friendly the high achieving women. You know they seem like they're going to cause social problems in the office. These are people they hadn't even met and you could see that. kind of factor being a bigger occur problem in male dominated occupations where there aren't already high achieving women in the office but Martin is quick to point out the gender segregation is also an important issue for men especially when considering where the economy is heading over the next decade. Most of the jobs that will grow the fastest our jobs that have historically been dominated by women. It's things like nurses nurses nurse practitioners We're going to need a lot more. Healthcare workers because of the aging population. Exactly on the other hand occupations that are dominated by men are predicted to grow much more slowly and in fact occupations that are predominantly women are projected to grow about twice. What occupations that are dominated needed by men are so if the men in these heavily male dominated occupations to keep participating in the labor market. A lot of them will probably have to shift into jobs that have traditionally additionally been held by women. There's another point here which is at a lot of the high paying jobs that require long hours and have very little flexibility jobs like lawyers or bankers or senior executives at big companies still tend to be held by men. One likely explanation for that. Is that the responsibilities of parenting and child care. Have disproportionately been carried carried by women. In the past and inflexibility in the workplace is actually a problem for everybody. Martha says it's a problem for women because it means fewer of them can take these jobs jobs. which would also help? Close the wage gap. But it's a problem for men because men also want flexibility at work maybe more than a lot of people realize one. Recent paper for example concluded clued. Men and women just aren't very different when it comes to reporting conflict between work and family finally says Martha Gender Segregation can also hold back overall economic growth. Both because it means that a lot of jobs aren't being taken by the people who are best matched to those jobs and that slows down. The economy produces a lot of the gains that we've seen in our economy over the last thirty forty years or because of women entering the workforce. I would argue that. We aren't aren't yet fully using women's potential. Because they may not they minis shut out of the occupations that where they may be most productive that they would like to be in and so if we are getting the most out of every worker that we possibly can that's great for everyone and so- ending adding gender segregation and occupations or at least the bias and discrimination that keep women out of certain occupations is good for women It's good for men not to be stuck in occupations that may grow more slowly and it's good for our economy. Progress in reducing gender segregation has been slow and some economists find that has actually been getting slower in the last few decades but there have been some signs that more progress is at least possible. For example the sheriff nursing jobs done by men has been steadily going up since the sixties and as the labor market has strengthened in recent years. Women have also been getting hired into more traditionally male dominated jobs things like construction mining and manufacturing. I do think. The tightening labor market has helped here. One thing that we've seen you know from two thousand sixteen to two thousand eighteen in this period of a really hot labor market is is that women's employment in male dominated. Industries has grown almost twice as fast as their employment in non male dominated industries. Now it's still small but it's growing much faster a quick note of gratitude. The idea for this episode was partly sparked by an excellent article about it in the economist. We also relied on some great work on this topic published by economist at the Center for equitable growth and on the paper by cloudy. Golden and work from other economists and scholars. We'll post links to all these articles and papers in the show notes at NPR dot org slash money. This episode was originally produced by Constanza Gherardo and Darius Rafi on the update was produced. Used Lena Sons. Gerry are intern. Is Nadia Lewis. Our editor is Paddy Hirsch and the indicator is a production of N._p._R...

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